December 18, 2008

University Admissions Reports Increase in Early Decision Applicants

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School librarians could not stop John DeSantis ’13 from celebrating his admission into Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration last Thursday when he received his acceptance letter inside his high school’s library.

“I was so excited and really nervous just to hear from Cornell and to get a decision,” DeSantis said. “When I finally found out, it was crazy.”

Last week, librarians across the country were confronted with similar expressions of happiness as admissions notices went out to all who applied to Cornell early decision, and the first students of the Class of 2013 found out their matriculation statuses.

Preliminary figures show an increase in the number of applicants and a steady percentage of acceptances. Although many expected the economic crisis to make high school students less eager to apply early decision, which comes along with a binding matriculation agreement, Cornell reported a 10-percent increase in the number of applications, from 3,094 to 3,405.

The University has compiled some statistical analysis of the Class of 2013; however, Doris Davis explained in an e-mail that the University “will provide a final and more detailed report on the early decision process for the Class of 2013 in January.”

Early admissions statistics — which, according to the website insidehighered.com, show that “the bubble that did not burst” — were predicted to show a decline in applicants this year as a result of many families’ current economic constraints. However, a student poll published by the College Board and Art and Science Group predicted that the current economic downturn combined with the selectivity of college admissions would motivate students to hedge their bets by applying early.

While the increase in applications may have come as a surprise, it did not affect the University’s distribution of decisions, the number of applicants offered admission barely fell from last year’s 37 percent to 36.68 percent. While acceptances remained steady, there was a definite increase in rejections instead of deferrals. The percentage of applicants denied rose from 34.84 to 40.23 while the percentage of applicants deferred declined from 25.89 to 21.53.

Facts, figures and statistical breakdowns, however, were not on the minds of the 1,249 applicants offered admission to Cornell last week. As these high school students across the globe logged on to their individual accounts and received their acceptances, their emotions were overwhelming.

“It was such a huge relief to know that I will be going a college that I felt so passionately about,” Jennifer Dilvell ’13 said about her recent acceptance into the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “The school is such a great match for my interests and I think it will be a great place for me to figure out even further my passions.”

Besides his career goals in the field of hotel administration, DeSantis hopes that being at Cornell will expose him to greater diversity as well as put him in closer contact with people who share his interests.

“Being from California, I hope to be exposed to a more diverse setting with a diverse group of people … and different weather,” DeSantis said. “I also hope to be around people with similar interests, dreams and aspirations.”

As for the rest of year, many students offered early acceptance will find it hard to keep up their academic excellence. The goal for many of them is to stay motivated.

“Senioritis has not really kicked in yet,” DeSantis said. “I’m still in advanced courses and still have other extracurricular commitments. I’m just trying to keep focus and avoid the temptation to slack off.”

Regular decision applications for the class of 2013 are due Jan. 2. Admissions decisions will be released between mid-February and early April, depending on undergraduate college.

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